Page images

Characters for Eternity are formed in time. The blosso som is set, and the fruit must correspond. Heaven and Hell are begun on Earth.

Here the affections chuse their object, which Eternity will not change. The heart naturally embraces sinful pleasures, and, while in a state of unregeneracy, will seek no higher enjoyment; but, if renewed by grace, these things will become rather objects of aversion, and the affections will aspire to purer and sublimer objects, – that is, to the enjoyment of Eternity.

Here a taste is formed, which we shall carry with us to the eternal state. If this taste be spiritual, it will prepare us for the spiritual and divine enjoyments of the heavenly world; for cominunion with saints and angels, with God and the Lamb: but, if “ earthly, sensual, and devilish," it is an awful preparation for the burning lake.

In short, this subject, ETERNITY, has a two-fold aspect, like that of the miraculous cloud in the Wilderness, which, while it afforded light and guidance to the chosen race of Israel, exhibited to the Egyptians nothing but gloom, horror, and the “ blackness of darkness :” — an awful type of that which is for ever.

God of Eternity! open to my mind such a view of this infinitely important subject, as may, while it diminishes all the little concerns of mortality, fix my attention and my heart upon the sublime and celestial glories of the eternal world !


From the late Rev. J. FLETCHER, of Madeley,

: to the Rev. G. WHITEFIELD.

with lines out is my

Rev. and dear Sir, Madeley, 18th May, 176;. T Am confounded when I receive a letter from you: pre1 sent and eternal contempt from Christ and all his members is what I deserve. À sentence of death is my due; but, instead of it, I ain favoured with lines of love. God write a thousand for them upon your own heart! and help you to read with still more triumphant and humbler demonstrations of gratitude, redeeming love, so deeply engraven upon the palms of our Saviour's hands, and to assist many thousands more to spell out the mysterious words !

Your mentioning my poor ministrations among your congregation, opens again a wound of shame that was but half heal. I led the need of asking God, you, and your hearers' pardoni, for weakening the glorious matter of the



them upon

Gospel, by my wretched broken manner; and spoiling the heavenly power of it, by the uncleanness of my heart and lips. I should be glad to go and be your Curate some time this year; but I see no opening, nor the least prospect of any. What between the dead and the living, a parish ties one down more than a wife. If I could go anywhere this year, it should be to Yorkshire, to accompany Lady Huntingdon, according to a design that I had half formed last year; but I fear I shall be debarred even from this. I set out, God willing, to-morrow inorning, for Trevecca, to meet her Ladyship there, and to shew her the way to Madeley, where she proposes to stay three or four days, in her way to Derbyshire. What Chaplain she will have there, 1 know not: God will provide. I rejoice, that though you are sure of Heaven, you have still a desire to inherit the earth, by being a peace-maker. Somehow, you will enjoy the blessing that others inay possibly refuse.

Last Sunday seven-night, Capt. Scott preached to my congregation a sermon, which was more blessed, though preached only upon my horse-block, than a hundred of those ( preach in the pulpit. I invited him to come and treat her ladyship next Sunday with another, now the place is consecrated. If you should ever favour Shropshire with your presence, you shall have the Captain's or the Parson's pulpit, at your option. Many ask me, whether you will not come to have some fruit here also; what must I answer them? I, and many more, complain of a stagnation of the work. What must we do? Every thing buds and blossoms about us, yet our winter is not over. I thought Mr. N--, who hath been three weeks in Shropshire, would have brought the turtle dove along with him: but I could not prevail upon himn to come to this poor Capernaum. I think I hardly ever met his feilow for a judicious spirit. Still, what hath God done in hiin, and me! I am out of Hell, and mine eyes have seen also something of his salvation ; though I must and do gladly yield to him and all my brethren, yet I must and will contend, that my being in the way to Heaven, makes me as rich a monument of mercy as he, or any of them. O that I may feel the wonderful effect of the patience that is manifested on me! Lord break me, and make me a vessel capable of bearing thy name, and the sweet savour of it, to my fellow sinners ! Ask this for me, dear Sir, and present my christian respects to Mrs. Whitefield, Mr. Hardy and keen, Mr. Joyce, Croom, and Wright. Tell Mr. Keen I am a letter in his debt, and postponed writing it, till I have had such a sigh

[ocr errors]

of Christ as to breathe his love through every line. I ami Rev. and dear Sir, with, blessed be God, a measure of sincere affection and respect, your willing, though halting and unworthy servant,



An irresistible proof of the depravity of our nature, may

be drawn froin the general indifference which mankind shew about death. It would be natural to suppose, a subject of such importance would engage our frequent and serions contemplation, especially as we are continually reminded of it by the decease of those around us : yet it is common to disaniss the unwelcome occurrence with some insignificant observation ; or, at most, with some reflection on the life and character of the deceased, without applying it to ourselves, or asking, Are we prepared to follow Nor is this difficult to be accounted for. The idea of death to a worldly man, is necessarily disagreeable: hence he endeavours to banish the awful subject by the trifles of time, or the gaieties of company. Nan's affections are riverted to present possessions; his desires are towards earthly things; consequently, the thought of for ever parting with all, must be execedingly painful: besides this, nature shrinks at the idea of a separation;, and however men may boast of their fortitude, they have naturally a dread of death; and if they would candidly confess it, a dread of an hereafter. “ But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, througb our Lord Jesus Christ.” An interest in the blood and righteousness of the Redeemer, not only makes the reflection tolerable, but joyful. The soul which has been taught by the Holy Spirit to know himself a sinner, and Christ bis Saviour, may welcome the approach of dissolution, and hail Death, as a welcome messenger.

66 His hand the good man fastens on the skies, " And bids earth roll, nor feels her idle whirl.” YOUNG. Howerer, human nature is, at best, but human nature, and cannot but be affected in that momentous period when we are called to leave behind us every thing that is dear in this world. The christian is susceptible of the claims of kindred and friendship, and the softer bonds of love, nor can he, nor does he wish, to rush into the unseen world with presumption or insensibility; yet if his heart be right with God, and faith in lively exercise, he will be enabled to cust. all the cares which hang on his mind upon the Father of


Mercies, who careth for him, and roll even this burden upon the Lord. . “ A death-bed is a detector of the heart”-it will distin

guish between the real christian and the hypocrite. “Men may live fools, but fools they cannot dic;" and dreadful indeed must be the condition of the man who has no God in that trying hour, when the soul is driven froin its beloved tenement, looks into eternity, and has no hope beyond the grave! The picture is too horrid for the imagination to pourtray. May it be realized by none who read these lines !

Death teaches the vanity of the world. It is an inestimable mercy to be taught this lesson in life ; but death teaches it to al}; and the most spiritual christian will see it in a stronger light than ever he has done before. Then he rejoices that his warfare is accomplished, and the victory is won. Then he takes his flight into that happy world where all is holiness, and joy, and peace where temptations can no more disquiet himn-where the infirmities of his nature shall no longer impede his divine life-where faith will be exchanged for sight-where all tears shall be wiped from his eyes,—and where he shall know Jesus fully; for he shall see him as he is.

J. L Y.

To the Editor of the Evangelical Magazine.


The following is an Extract of a Letter, written by an affectionate

Friend to a Student at Newport Academy. The Subject being general, it will apply to many in like Circumstances; and may, under a divine blessing, prove a public Benefit,-though the Writer never designed any thing more than a few friendly Hints in a Way of private Correspondence. -If you should view it in the same Light, and think proper to insert it in the Magazine, you will much oblige

Yours, &c.

A CONSTANT READER. 6 TT is more than probable that you will soon be called to

o engage in the work to which you have devoted yourself. You seem to be aware of the difficulties and dangers to which you will be exposed, and your own insufficiency for the important undertaking; bui, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, with a good cause, a good conscience, and a good captain, you may still be of good courage. May the Lord make and keep you faithful! Like the Apostles and

primitive primitive Christians, you must expect to pass through evil report and good report. The former may be most unpleasant to your feelings at the time; but the greatest danger may be apprehended from the latter : -"As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold, so is a inan to his praise.” May you pass unhurt through this fiery trial ! and remember, for your encouragement, that as the gold is not injured, but actually benefitted by the furnace, so, if grace be in exercise, you may receive advantage from what might otherwise prove extremely detrimental.

If then you would profit by the commendation you receive, iustcad of being injured by them, you will do well to consider, in the first place, Who it is that commends? It is not enough that they be professors of religion, or persons whom in a judgment of charity we consider as Christians: but are they humble, spiritual, alive to God, and dead to the world,-attached to the cause of Christ, and not the interests of a party? Among mere professors, or persons of a speculative turn of mind; whose views of religion are very superficial, and who have little or no experience of its power on their hearts, you may be popular without being useful. There may be a sad decline in vital godliness; but such characters (of whom it is to be feared there are too many) will not perceive the deficiency, When the word is preached, with the Holy Ghost sent down froin Ileaven, it will be attended with an unction and savour; of which none are competent judges but those who have tasted that the Lord is gracions. But it is very difficult to discriminate characters, especially among those with whom you do not constantly reside; and such is the influence of self-love, that it strongly disposes us to forin a favourable opinion of those who are partial to us; whilst the most friendly hint, if not as flattering as it is friendly, is too often viewed as the effect of envy or prejudice. To assist you in forming a judgment of this matter, it may be proper to consider on what ground praise is bestowed. Are jou highly extolled for your critical judgment, profound learning, logical arrangement, or elegant language? &c. or, are the sweet siinplicity, the fervent zeal, the disinterested benevolence, the unaffected piety, with the sound and spiritual judgment which appear in your public exercises, the subject of cominendation? If praise be lavished on the former ground, it should awaken your caution: if bestowed on the latter, it should excite your gratitude. " But praise is often given indiscriminately:- from the


« PreviousContinue »